So here I am in lovely Dortmund, Germany at the International Women’s Film Festival. This is how they say it in German: Internationales Frauenfilmfestival. Everyone has been so amazing. I feel like I have made some great new friends in just one day.
The festival kicked off last night with a packed (half the audience was men) screening of Iciar Bollain’s Oscar nominated film Even the Rain which delves into issues of colonialization and how cultures take advantage of indigenous people from the days of Christopher Columbus to today. It was amazing to be in a room with people watching a Spanish film with English subtitles with many people listening to the German translation on headset. Even though we weren’t speaking the same language the film resonated with all of us.
It is so interesting to see the wide support of the festival from the local and regional politicians (several made impressive really political speeches at the opening.) This is a festival that is important to the region and while many cultural and other types of events have been cut in the last couple of years due to the worldwide recession, this festival is still being funded by parts of the government (unlike say in the US.) They also have an impressive amount of corporate sponsors. This is especially amazing because the festival has a clear feminist agenda.
We began the day several hours earlier with a press conference (I had my own translator) where the impressive schedule of the festival was laid out by the Festival Director Silke Rabiger and the woman in charge of the press and one of the programmers Stefanie Gortz.
I really had no idea the breadth of this festival. My part is just a small piece. They have a whole section for up and coming young female directors and this morning there was a workshop on film financing. They are also having screenings for students and a program to encourage girls to learn how to make films. There are also concerts, performances and a huge interactive activist art installation on the weekend.
There is also a strong focus on cinematographers and they are giving out a prize to highlight the great work of female cinematographers. The other prizes include the jury prize for the competition, an audience award and a documentary award that is being presented to Helga Reidemesiter.
Even the Rain